Delightful evening on Gellibrand Hill

I love Friday’s. At the moment, after work there are a couple of hours of daylight, and I finished work early, and popped up to Gellibrand Hill for the evening.

Mostly to see if there where any sign of Brown Falcons and Kestrels.

There are really four distinct birdy areas on the hill, and I choose the one looking down over the paddocks to the airport.  A Brown Falcon put in an appearance, and then a second one and they played in the sky just too far away for great shots.
I also heard the odd kid’s flute, cry of a Wedge-tail eagle. Its a funny noise from a great bird.  It must have been behind the door when great calls were given out.  Or too busy up on the “Bigger Wings” and “Claws” section of the production line.  I grew up in the Mallee, and around the Long Paddock (technical term look it up) they could often be heard with the little wheezy whistle.  I didn’t take too much notice of them in those days,  had other boy things to grow up with.

Anyway my investigation turned up two birds sitting just a bit too far down the hill in the fenced off Bandicoot Hilton.

I had a 300 with a Kenko 1.4 TC on board.  Mr An  Onymous  had been using on his D800, and it came back for a visit. As my Nikon TC1.4 is practically mated to the 500 for life, it was nice to try this out again.  I bought it when I was using the old style 300 F4 AF Lens.   It was  a bit slow to focus, but once locked on it was great.  But for inflight, it left a bit to be desired and I took the AF-S  on a trade at Camera Exchange.  Anyway.  Just a bit too far down the paddock for great, but close enough for interesting.

Also had a half hour with a Pallid Cuckoo pair hunting on the old fence line.  Why don’t they just take that part of the fence out now.  There are no Bandicoots in that part, and I could get easy access down along the paddocks of interest. Or. Visitors could roam down along the open paddocks and enjoy the different atmosphere the open fields offer. (there spoken just like  marketing person). If there is a job available to pull it down, I’ll volunteer.

And to top it off a lovely sunset with a big orange ball on the horizon, and two friendly Kookaburras to share it with.  They were gracious enough to share their nest location with me, and while the sunset wasn’t behind them, I left with their merry laughter ringing in my ears.

Two Wedgetailed Eagles enjoying the evening sunshine
Wedgetail Eagle flying in. Love the expression on the stationery bird.
Wedgetail Eagle flying in. Love the expression on the stationery bird.
Wedgetailed Eagle and some very aggressive Ravens
Pallid Cuckoo enjoying an evening snack.
As the sun sets slowly in the west, the call of the Kookaburra brings another day to a close. Roll the MovieTone music track.
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Around the Sugar Gums at Woodlands

With the backpaddock now devoted to the enjoyment of two foxes, and some soon to be introduced bandicoots, it’s been time to find a new area to explore.

Luckily Woodlands has an abundance of locations and habitats.  On the promting of our friend Richard, we decided on an excursion up into the Sugar Gum plantation.  This is pretty old vegetation these days, and has more than a few species so  we expected a bit of a treat.

On the track in, just about every tree had its own Striated Pardolote in residence, and many of them were happy to come and see what was going on. A small flock of weebills went by also, Would that be a wee flock of weebills?

But the highlight of the day was down in the clearing near the rangers work area.  A number of Dusky Woodswallows were at play in the open area. We sat and watched for about 30 minutes.  Now there are some rules to the games, and that became apparent. One rule is:Everybody find a perch on a tree- not the same tree. Rule two was one by one try to unperch the ones with the best location. Rule three: unperched birds can then try to remove the next most likely location.  The problem with the game is that rule three deteriorates into three or more birds on the one perch squabbling about whose site it is.
Good naturedly they then all fly off for a well earned feed. After some circling of the watching humans, rest momentarily and go back to rule one.

If there was a rule four, it seemed to have something to do with agitating the local Willie Wagtails who were busy getting acquainted.

The walk back to the car uncovered a covered up Pallid Cuckoo.  They had been calling all morning, and this one was close to the working area of a family of Superb Fairy Wrens. It didn’t seem to mind me taking a closer look at it.

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